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Aussies targeted by cybercriminals once every 7 minutes

People walking and Australian money notes.
Australians report cybercrime once every seven minutes and up to 200,000 homes and offices are currently at risk, a new report has found. (Source: Getty)

Aussies report cybercrime once every seven minutes, a new report has found, and up to 200,000 homes and offices are now at risk of hackers.

The report from the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) - which is the Australian Government’s leading agency for cybersecurity - revealed there were 76,000 reports of cybercrime over the past financial year. That was a 13 per cent increase on the previous year.

The report found thousands of Australian home and office routers were at risk of being hacked.

“The ACSC estimates that at least 150,000 to 200,000 devices in Australian homes and small businesses are vulnerable,” the report said.

Australians were an attractive target for cybercriminals, with a recent Credit Suisse report finding Aussies had the highest median wealth per adult in the world.

“In 2021/22, cybercrimes directed at individuals, such as online banking and shopping compromise, remained among the most common, while business email compromise (BEC) trended towards targeting high-value transactions like property settlements,” the report said.

Fraud most common attack

Online fraud accounted for 27 per cent of reports, while online shopping made up 14 per cent of reports. Online banking was 13 per cent.

Ransomware was the “most destructive cybercrime”, the report said, but it made up just 0.6 per cent of reports. Ransomware attacks are when hackers breach a network or system, steal private information and then demand money for not releasing it.

Ransomware has been under the spotlight in recent months following the data breaches involving Optus and health insurer Medibank, which occurred after the report was made.

There were 447 ransomware reports in the previous financial year, but ACSC said attacks were likely underreported, “especially by victims who choose to pay a ransom”.

The average small business is losing about $39,000 from cybercrime, while median businesses are losing $88,000 and large businesses are losing more than $62,000.

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